Sim Cockpit Aluminum Grades

Spinelli

1000RPM
Original poster
Jan 22, 2014
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I may be buying my own profile or at least some of my own for the Sim-Lab P1 I'm getting and I see every site is using different grades of aluminum.

I explained to a shop how I'll have a big dd wheel, heavy duty braking, motion platform, and transducers. The guy who responded basically said to get a good medium strength aluminum such as:
- 6005-T5
- 6005A-T5
- 6005A-T61
- 6105-T5
- 6106-T6
- 6082 (didn't specify temper, probably overkill and rare anyways)
(list is not necessarily in order of overall strength)

He also said he would avoid the following unless there's no other option:
- 6060
- 6063

What do people here think? I don't know much about this stuff and my OCD is killing me with trying to figure out what grade to go with for the aluminum extrusion.
 
Last edited:

callumjtc

250RPM
Nov 13, 2017
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I would say drop an email to Sim Labs, ask them for the exact aluminium profile and explain you want some extra pieces to customise to your liking. Since you are buying one of their products I'm sure they'll be happy to help.
 

Manx-Andi

25RPM
Mar 30, 2018
47
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Sim Labs are really helpful with things like this - drop Darko an email and explain to him what you want to do, really nice bloke !
 

Spinelli

1000RPM
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Jan 22, 2014
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Hmmm. Sim-Lab said Motedis is one of their suppliers. From Motedis' website, it looks like all they're aluminum profiling is 6063. I wonder if Sim-Lab are using and mixing different aluminum grade metals depending on what piece comes from which supplier. I was told by a local shop to avoid 6063......

Even buying a cockpit or just aluminum profiles is stressful. It's been almost 3 weeks now of researching cockpits and, mostly, aluminum extrusion. I won't have a cockpit by spring at this rate, lol.
 

DowntownSIX

100RPM
Dec 23, 2016
208
196
I was told by a local shop to avoid 6063......
Would said local shop happen to supply one of the other grades of profile?

My rig is build from Motedis profile with a mix of 40/40, 40/80 and 40/120 and is absolutely rock solid with a 20NM OSW and Heusinkveld Pro pedals.

I suspect for sim racing applications, you won't be able to detect the difference between profile grades.
 

callumjtc

250RPM
Nov 13, 2017
356
131
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Hmmm. Sim-Lab said Motedis is one of their suppliers. From Motedis' website, it looks like all they're aluminum profiling is 6063. I wonder if Sim-Lab are using and mixing different aluminum grade metals depending on what piece comes from which supplier. I was told by a local shop to avoid 6063......

Even buying a cockpit or just aluminum profiles is stressful. It's been almost 3 weeks now of researching cockpits and, mostly, aluminum extrusion. I won't have a cockpit by spring at this rate, lol.
6063 is a medium strength aluminium, often called architectural alloy, it will be absolutely fine, not really any reason to avoid in extrusion form. Go with the sim labs supplier and crack on :)
 

Spinelli

1000RPM
Original poster
Jan 22, 2014
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6063 is a medium strength aluminium, often called architectural alloy, it will be absolutely fine, not really any reason to avoid in extrusion form. Go with the sim labs supplier and crack on :)
6063 is often referred to as a soft grade aluminum and, when it is referred to a medium grade, it's on the soft end of medium.

"6061 aluminum alloy is found in a wide variety of applications. It is used in bicycle frames and components, fly fishing reels, firearm sound suppressors and other weapon parts, aluminum docks and gangways, ultra-high vacuum chambers, remote-controlled aircraft, and other toys and models. In extruded form, it is very common in construction applications that require higher strength than 6063 is able to offer."

"6063 is commonly used in visible architectural applications such as window frames, door frames, roofs, and sign frames where high strength is not the most important factor. It is also popular in pipe and tubing, as well as aluminum furniture."

A racing cockpit and it's forces are much closer to "bicycle frames and components" (6061) than window and door frames (6063).


I'm just wondering if in 5-10 years, a cockpit subjected to almost daily heavy DD wheel forces, 100-300 lbs braking forces, seat mover forces, and tactile vibration forces will start to show signs of fatigue, deformation, bending, twisting, etc.
 

Spinelli

1000RPM
Original poster
Jan 22, 2014
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I'm probably blowing this out of proportion. The fact that most areas of the cockpit are not just a single thin strip of profile but bigger (40x80, 40x120, 40x160) probably way more than make up for being 6063 grade.
 

metalnwood

250RPM
Premium
Sep 6, 2018
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It wont really matter, unless you are buying aluminium that you need some specific properties for casting/machining/corrosion resistance/anodising etc then buy what you can get for this kind of thing.
 

Spinelli

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Jan 22, 2014
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It wont really matter, unless you are buying aluminium that you need some specific properties for casting/machining/corrosion resistance/anodising etc then buy what you can get for this kind of thing.
But what about the other properties that could be important for the high loads endured in a sim-rig such as the following:

  • Elastic (Young's, Tensile) Modulus
  • Elongation at Break
  • Fatigue Strength
  • Poisson's Ratio
  • Shear Modulus
  • Shear Strength
  • Tensile Strength: Ultimate (UTS)
  • Tensile Strength: Yield (Proof)
  • Resilience: Ultimate (Unit Rupture Work)
  • Resilience: Unit (Modulus of Resilience)
  • Strength to Weight: Axial
  • Strength to Weight: Bending

6063 is quite a bit weaker in most or all of those physical strength categories than the other ones mentioned in my OP. 20-30 Nm wheels, 200-300 pounds of brake force, motion systems, tactile units. There's quite a bit of load/forces going on...
 

Emery

2000RPM
Jun 6, 2009
2,694
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Don't forget that aluminum profile is shaped for strength, so you really want to look at what the shaped strength is rather than just the properties of the metal. The suppliers should have that load info... if they don't, then pick another supplier.

But, honestly, you're overthinking this. Have you heard of anyone who has had an aluminum profile rig break? If the type of aluminum mattered, there would be plenty of cautionary tales out there.
 

BenKay

100RPM
Jul 17, 2018
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You’re massively over thinking the material choice. The design and sizing of the profiles keeps the material a million miles away from being under such stress that you even need to think about elastic modulus, sheer resistance etc.
 

Spinelli

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Original poster
Jan 22, 2014
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OK guys, thanks for the confidence and explanations. I'll keep it simple and go with the standard grades most are using (6063-T5) and stop worrying.